ACTS presenting “The Diviners”


Bring the tissues this weekend with the premiere of “The Diviners” by playwright Jim Leonard Jr. at Actors Community Theatre of Seymour, 357 Tanger Blvd., Suite 208, Seymour.

The show opens Saturday and also will be presented on Sunday and again May 10 and 11. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. For the Sunday show, doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the show starts at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $12 and may be purchased at the door or at Snacks and drinks will be available for a freewill donation.

The play follows C.C. Showers, played by Jeremy Hendrix, a back-sliding preacher, who leaves the pulpit in Kentucky that he’s inherited from his forefathers and sets out to find an honest living for himself in the tiny town of Zion, Indiana.

He finds a job and a place to lay his head in the home of widowed mechanic, Ferris Layman, played by Mike DeShong.

Townspeople welcome Showers with suspicion, curiosity and ultimately joy as the town has been without a preacher for many years. Showers rebuffs the town’s efforts to set him up in their non-existent pulpit and focuses his attentions on the mechanic and his son and daughter.

Showers fights a growing attraction to sympathetic Jennie Mae, played by Fae Brott, but begins to think he can do some good as a friend to Buddy Layman, played by Tyler DeShong, a wild and innocent young man with a disturbed mind and some uncanny abilities.

The death of Buddy’s mother by drowning and his own near-death have given him a powerful fear of water even as a mysterious aquatic affinity gives him powers as a “water witch,” with the ability to divine wells and predict the rain.

When his refusal to wash gives Buddy a bad case of ringworm, Showers makes it his mission to calm Buddy’s fears and introduce him to water as a friend.

The former preacher tries to keep Buddy’s feet on the ground and heal him with the simple earthly magic of soap and water, but when the hopes of the townsfolk become involved, the line between bath and baptism becomes blurred and tragedy inevitably strikes.

“I picked this show because it has been an emotional connection for me throughout my life for quite some time,” director Elyse McGill said. “I was in the play once before but wanted to bring it to life myself.”

McGill said the characters are complex and relatable as they are on their quest of a better life whether they are by themselves or with each other.

This is not only DeShong’s first role at ACTS, but also his first play outside of high school since he graduated in 2022.

“It’s been a little difficult because with my history in theatre I have always been type-casted with fatherly roles or friendly characters so this is the first role where I haven’t been like the character so to speak,” he said. “However, it’s also been fun because it has allowed me to expand my knowledge and try things I never had the chance to before.”

DeShong said his character follows the unlikely friendship that forms between Buddy and C.C. Showers and the process of healing. Since, returning to the theatre he said he had surprised himself.

“Learning how to do stage directions and memorizing lines again has been a challenge, but I surprised myself with how quickly it came back to me,” he said.

DeShong said he is most looking forward to seeing how the play comes together.

“This is the first show I have done in what is called ‘The Round’ where the stage is in the center and the audience is around the stage,” he said. “That is going to add something special to the play.”

Rebecca Hendrix plays Goldie Short, the sassy diner owner who offers a small comedic relief in this dramatic play.

“I am always here to help out the ACTS community when they need it,” she said.

Hendrix said she would sum up the play as a good story between two lost people helping each other find their way into the community. The cast started rehearsals in February and she said it has been a journey.

“We had some bumps in the road, but we have all pulled it together which I think is really fitting to the play that it is with the community coming together to make this happen,” she said.

Hendrix met her husband, Jeremy who is also in the play, at ACTS and said it’s nice to return.

“I like how he can easily mold into these characters,” she said.

Rebecca said she is looking forward to seeing Buddy transform from the first act to the second act.

“It will be emotional and it’s definitely a dramatic play,” she said.

Jeremy who plays the travelling preacher, C.C. Showers, said roles like this don’t come too often.

“Typically, we don’t do a lot of dramas because most community theatres stick to comedy, but usually when you get a role like this that is written well, its exciting,” he said. “I got to be part of a show with the actual playwright about 30 years ago and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Jeremy said transforming into the role for this dramatic play has been a challenge.

“It wears on you,” he said. “It’s hard to get into those kinds of emotions and not take it home with you.”

Overall, Jeremy said he hopes the audience can make an emotional connection with this story.

“The final product is always rewarding, but when you make an emotional connection with the audience it’s pretty special,” he said.

No posts to display